FOI Publishing Requirements

FOI Reform

Recent updates to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) require Government bodies such as the ACCC to publish certain information from 1 May 2011. The ACCC must publish certain documents released to FOI applicants and a range of other information, including 'operational information'.

Documents released to FOI applicants

Under s.11C of the FOI Act, the ACCC must publish documents it releases to FOI applicants except information of the following kinds:

(1) personal information about any individual, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(2) information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(3) other information of a kind determined by the Information Commissioner under subsection (3), if it would be unreasonable to publish the information.

This information is available under the FOI Disclosure log.

Other information

Under s.8(2) of the FOI Act, the ACCC must publish the following information:

            (a) an agency plan for FOI IPS compliance (as required under s.8(1);

            (b) details of the structure of the agency’s organisation;

(c) as far as practicable, details of the functions of the agency, including its decision‑making powers and other powers affecting members of the public (or any particular person or entity, or class of persons or entities);

(d) details of appointments of officers of the agency that are made under Acts (other than APS employees within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999);

(e) the information in annual reports prepared by the agency that are laid before the Parliament;

(f) details of arrangements for members of the public to comment on specific policy proposals for which the agency is responsible, including how (and to whom) those comments may be made;

(g) information in documents to which the agency routinely gives access in response to requests under Part III (access to documents), except information of the following kinds:

(i) personal information about any individual, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(ii) information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(iii) other information of a kind determined by the Information Commissioner under subsection (3), if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(h) information held by the agency that is routinely provided to the Parliament in response to requests and orders from the Parliament;

(i) contact details for an officer (or officers) who can be contacted about access to the agency’s information or documents under this Act;

(j)  the agency’s operational information (s.8A).

 Operational information is defined in s.8A as:

(1) An agency’s operational information is information held by the agency to assist the agency to perform or exercise the agency’s functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations affecting members of the public (or any particular person or entity, or class of persons or entities).

Example:The agency’s rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to those decisions and recommendations.

(2) An agency’s operational information does not include information that is available to members of the public otherwise than by being published by (or on behalf of) the agency.

The ACCC is not required to publish exempt information or any publication prohibited or restricted by other legislation (s.8C of the FOI Act).

The ACCC will keep this information accurate, up to date and complete by regularly reviewing this information and ensuring all new operational information produced is reflected on the FOI website.

This information is available under FOI Information Publication Scheme ACCC Agency Plan

The FOI Act is available at ComLaw via:

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2011C00052